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Gene Robinson Education. (2012) 'God Believes In Love Straight Talk About Gay Marriage.' New.

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  CSPAN    Book TV    Gene Robinson  Education.  (2012) 'God Believes  
   In Love Straight Talk About Gay Marriage.' New.  

    November 10, 2012
    2:30 - 3:45pm EST  

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everyone in the county, you can't imagine looking at the western from earlier days anyone like him but he was worse than you have seen in your worst western but growing up in that, my family, my great great grandparents had come to baker county. i don't know whether they came as slaves or not that they ended up there as sharecroppers with the intent on buying land and that they did. a body of land that the area where i grew up, still today called hawkinstown. lots of families -- but it was that way. the hawkins lived in one area and williams and another but we were all one big family and felt we had to help each other and i was raised on a farm and my father -- there were five girls, any farmer wants a son.
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any man wants a son, my mother and father kept having babies and they were all girls. we all had bullies's nicknames. i was bill. [laughter] >> that is hilarious. >> as save as we could be in the situation we were in, we felt safe and comfortable there and i feel like my father wanted us to have an education, he knew that education was the key to a better life but i really think he thought all of us would come back home and try to work from there. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> gene robinson of the episcopal diocese of new hampshire's and first openly gay person elected to be episcopate presents his arguments for gay marriage. this is just over an hour.
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[applause] >> thank you. i think of cambridge as a very sophisticated place but surely you have better things to do on a friday night, really. i am delighted that i was your choice tonight. i am really very honored and it is a special privilege to be introduced by patrick. he is one of my favorite people in the whole world and he is doing some great things and if you haven't bought his book, by it now. is fantastic. welcome. we have pds people here? yes. any harvard people here? yes, oh yes, okay.
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i am really pleased to be doing this book right now. i have to admit i didn't have time to write a book. i have this day job running a diocese at least until the end of this year when i retire. and i got a call from desmond tutu's book agent who had heard me on and p are talking about gay marriage and he thought this sounds really reasonable and so on and he said i think you have a booking you. and i said i don't have time for it. so we talked about whether or not i should find a ghost writer or something. there was this wonderful writer who had done a very long profile on me for gq magazine ads
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married to an episcopal priest so you don't have to explain the church to him and so on. we thought that would be the way to go, i went and talked to his tape recorder for a week or two, i guess the week and he was going to write up a proposal and sell. test went by, october, november and december and still nothing, and it turned out he recovered memories in his therapy of a horrific situation earlier in his life and was in a paralyzing depression so we had to take the book back and i thought oh. now what? some how i was able to put it together and then got very excited about it and realized this book needed to be written in my own voice and illustrated
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by my own story and so god has a funny way of working. let me just say a few things and i will take your questions. a long time ago i gave up trying to figure out why people came to something and then speak to this made up motivation. it is save her to let people ask what they want to ask and then you have a little more chance of actually meeting their needs. we are in an unbelievable moment. if you think about it, this is an exciting time to be alive, especially if you are gay or lesbian or transgendered. is an astounding thing to be alive at this moment. if you are my age, you know that we grew up never imagined we would see what we are seeing today.
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even in the gay community in nearly 90s i remember talking about the whole day marriage thing and it was a hot item in the al b g t community because most people thought that if we were to ask for marriage equality that there would be such a backlash, that he would be set back years, maybe decades and the only person i can remember who was singing that song was evan wilson, head of the national freedom to marry coalition and he just kept saying if we ask for anything less than marriage we will be second class forever and he was right and pretty soon others began to sing that song with him and now of course we have six state in the district of columbia with marriage equality, we have three more states,
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maryland, maine and washington state who will actually vote on marriage equality at the ballot box in early november. if that happens it will be the first time there is equality is achieved at the ballot box without a lawsuit, without legislation and so on and we have one state, minnesota, which i think of as being pretty liberal. al franken is there senator, they will be voting on whether or not to add a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. so it is a big year for this and we also will appear in a week or two which cases the supreme court will take up. there is coal proposition 8 case coming out of california, and
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the ninth circuit, and right out of boston here, fantastic work -- 1 a glad, gay lesbian advocates and defenders, they are bringing the most effective cases against the so-called defense of marriage act and we will find out whether the supreme court will take up one or more or all of those cases and then we will have -- we should have a ruling by next june. so it is a big moment for marriage and marriage equality so it felt appropriate to write about this comment and i will talk about who i intended it for. the book is layout, imagined a conversation between me and someone who would probably
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describe themselves as reasonably tolerant of gay and lesbian people although tolerances and called it is cracked up to being if you haven't noticed. i have a friend who says the only thing one should have to tolerate as hemorrhoids. perhaps a little overstated, but if you have ever been on the receiving end of tolerance, it doesn't feel all that much better than in tolerance. if someone is begrudgingly admitting your right to exist, it doesn't feel all that warm and fuzzy, so i imagine a conversation, and i have talked to hundreds of people like this, who fancy themselves a tolerant position but are not ready to go
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all the way to being advocates for marriage equality. and each of the concerns are questions that they raise, formed a chapter in the book. the idea is when you get to the end of, you will be invited to be an advocate for marriage equality. i think, i hope it will be helpful to people who have those questions. i think it also might be helpful to parents who are feeling squeamish about their gay or lesbian kids who come, not only announced they are gay but they're getting married because they live in one of the states where they can do that, or you have a niece or nephew who invited you to his or her wedding and you are not sure how you feel about it or a co-worker or former classmates or whenever. i also hope the book will sort of provide a script for those of
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us who are absolutely in favor but sometimes struggled to find the right words to use effective ways of talking people through the issues that gay marriage brings up. i am hoping it will have a lot of different uses. while we have made unbelievable progress, let's also pause to remember that we still have kids jumping off a bridges. one of the things in the northeast, and the dominoes, in cambridge, mass. we live in a bubble, and if you don't live on one of the two coasts or in an urban area you are very likely to experience the kind of attitudes that existed 50 years
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ago and if you are a kid and thank god for the internet in this sense, at least you can find out there are other people like you. you are not the only person in the world experiencing what you are experiencing but it is really tough out there and for all the progress we have made, we still have too much bullying and way too much depression and attempted suicide particularly in our young people. it is important to remember if the world, not even the united states, is not like cambridge or new england, that we are very blessed here. we are seeing remarkable progress in some religious institutions. the episcopal church, i am happy to say has now ordained its
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second day bishop has the bishop of los angeles. so the episcopal church has decided this is where we are headed and there we go. at this summer's general convention, added transgendered people to the list of groups that will not be discriminated against and are acceptable as leaders and deacons and bishops audit would have taken another three years to our next convention. we have moved a long way in nine years since my consecration. the presbyterians and lutherans are coming close behind. the methodists on the other hand have some work to do. we are working with them but we also have huge denomination that
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are not making any progress as best we can tell. roman catholics, i believe the archbishop in washington just yesterday said literally, said a marriage in the state of washington would basically be the end of civilization as we know it. and i believe we're still described as intrinsically disordered. the southern baptists are not exactly applauding for cedar. i had a really interesting experience. recently i was invited to a huge megachurch in san diego and they were doing a whole weekend on marriage and the pastor, the
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head pastor, basically led the effort on proposition 8 in california. and to his credit, as the last event of this weekend, not marriage which they would not allow me to attend any of the rest of, i was a part of the panel, john corvina and i on one side and a couple of really conservative people on the other side. so i decided that i wanted to worship with them on that sunday morning. i wanted to worship some way. this will perhaps give me some insight into them and their theology and so on. it was a shocking experience. i arrived at their brand new $28 million facility. i walked in and there was a cafe
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on the right that makes starbucks would look like a sidewalk lemonade stand adjusted to one of the ushers is it ok if i take my latte in with me. oh yes, there is a cup holder at every seat. every seat. and the seats are more comfortable than what you are sitting in here. there was nothing in this multiuse room, this was their worship space. they have 2,000 people for every service. there was nothing in this worship space that indicated in any way that anything religious was going on. there was not a cross, there was not a window of any kind never mind stained-glass. the only thing you saw when you went in was the drum tracks set in the middle of the stage. it came time to start the service. the band comes out and it was
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happy music, actually pretty good. the theology of it was ok as far as it went. was all about yea god and no mention of the world or the needs of the world. 20 minutes of singing and then jim comes out, he introduceds and african-american pastors from new york city where many of the baptist churches, mostly baptist but freewill sorts of things have been renting space in new york city public school system for their services on sunday and they were being thrown out. i think that has been reversed. his whole message was what is happening in new york is going to be happening in san diego. get ready. and then jim talked-about that
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evening's panel which i was going to be a part and his whole tone was they are coming to get us and the only way i can prepare you for when they come is if you come tonight. so be here. it was this kind of paranoid think i have not heard before. the sermon was 45 minutes long. i would never get away with that. the first time god got a mention was 25 minutes in, and 40 minutes in jesus got a mention and then it ended. i forgot to tell you. right after the music, jim comes out and says now it is time to
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take up the offering. right out of the gate. music, take up the offering and everyone cheered that they were going to get the gift. i could use a little of that, i am sure. we ended the sermon, there was a very sort of the kind of prayer and then it was over. i have never been at what was ostensibly a church service where there was so little god, jesus, religion anything. it was all political and was all paranoid. it was their coming to get us. and we have got to get ready. i am not even sure i absorbent the insight that it gave me. but it sure made me understand
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more about the fear that is out there and are often behind the vitriol that we experience. i think we had better pay attention to that. when someone comes at me either directly or indirectly with something awful the way i try to stay sympathetic to them is to ask the question what are they afraid of? and is there anything i can say that convinces them there's really no need to be afraid. this was a double dose of that. it really shook me and helped me understand a little bit better what we are against. i think many of our enemies in this movement are in the business of ratcheting up people's and variety. often to make money or to work
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for particular political party or candidate or for whatever reason, it seems to me that they are simply brilliant at ratcheting up the anxiety. this hole service was not anything about the comfort that comes from a loving god. it was all about what is going to happen and it is not going to be pretty so get ready. so i think we need to take that into mind. let me talk a little bit more about fear. i addressed this in the book. i think there's a lot of fear of l g b t issues because the bill be g.t. -- algae bt --lbgt more
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complicated than we thought. remember when we used to have the gay and straight communities? that is how we started. the straight community and the gay community and and lesbians spoke up and said hello, we are here and our experience is different so we became the gay, straight and gay and lesbian community and bisexual spoken and trans gender and now we are writing letters by the day, aren't we? we have a couple of qs and them are and dawdling knows what else. we are going to run out of letters pretty soon. i saves the straight audiences, some of you are here, how do you get away with just being straight? what are your letters? [applause] >> all those letters save the we
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have actually been exploring this reality and those letters are an indication of the kind of diversity we are finding in our own community and there is more which is why we are going to run out of letters. it also points out to the fact that i think the heterosexual community hasn't done that kind of work or else they would have a bunch of letters. they are not one big blob of straightdumb. there is enormous diversity in the heterosexual community but who is talking about that? any kind of honest or helpful way? i can remember doing anti racism training early on, young african-american woman said i am sick to death of coming to your racism conferences. you put me in the center of the room and have me still my guts and the all vulnerable. you sit on the outside of the
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hall and you don't have to share anything. she said why don't you white people go away and have your own section quality -- racism conference and when you have done some work get back to me. then we will talk. sometimes especially on a bad day, i think the focus on lgbt people is a way to not focus on heterosexual sexual alan bean. maybe we should encourage straight people to go away and to live their own work and then get back to us. i also predict trends gender issue will raise people's anxiety way more than gay or lesbian issue ever did because when you start talking about sexuality being more fluid and
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mysterious and this crazy combination of things that can result between people's inner selves and their physical body, it sort of says everything is up for grabs and nobody likes it. that is why the old gay/straight dichotomy was uncomfortable. if i am not that, i am this. i know who i am and they know who they are and never the twain shall meet. now there just seems to be very much more variation. not that it didn't occur before but because we never talked about it. so i reject -- which is why the transgendered community offers us such gifts. the trans gender community will raise questions even for gay and
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lesbian people that we have not really fully confronted. if that is exciting to you, great but my guess is to a lot of people, the trans gender issue will push a lot of scary buttons. i want to be honest about the fact that god believes -- "god believes in love: straight talk about gay marriage," that is both straight forward and also i did have heterosexual people in mind when i wrote it. marriage is one of those things that is under siege and again, i think the l b -- the lgbt community has become the whipping boy for marriage's troubles which were here long before we ever started talking about gay marriage. and marriage is under siege at least in my experience, my
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counseling experience and that of my clergy and so on. the financial state of things in this country right now is the greatest threat to marriages and you have people trying to hold down two or three jobs to make ends meet and it doesn't leave a lot of time for nurturing a relationship so marriage is under attack for sure but i wanted to be honest about one thing, i think we need to be, some people really are, critiquing marriage. the argument i am making in this book is quite a conservative argument. my attitude is give us marriage and then we will critique it. but give us the access to it. the right to it. it is not a book to critique the institution of marriage, there's
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quite a bit of that ended. it is a conservative argument about marriage at its best, that it is ideal, be speaks the kind of relationship in which two people make a place in their heart for one another in such a profound way that it reveals to us the kind of selfless love that god has for us. the sacrament is a place where god promises to show love. sfax in a relationship with another person there are times no matter how fleeting that you actually do love this person more than you love yourself. it gives you some tiny window into the heart of god who loves us beyond anything we can imagine. that is why we value it.
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it is a laboratory for understanding the transform of power of that kind of law. at the end of the day it is the conservative argument and one that conservatives ought to be all for. how long have they criticized us for having promiscuous sex and superficial relationships? here we are trying to add some form and depth and continuity and so on and they are against that. it is like people who are opposed to abortion but also opposed to sex education and contraception. it doesn't make any sense. i thought i should give you a heads up. lastly and we will open up for questions. i also think that the fear and resistance we experience in this
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movement signals something even bigger and that is i really do believe that the lgbt movement is the beginning, just the beginning of the end of patriarchy. patriarchy has been around for a very long time. ..
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>> when there are protections in place and liberty and justice for all actually means all, just because there is funding for women's health, that does not mean that it went away. when we get marriage equality or the end of doma, there will still be lots of work to do. we have to be in this for the long haul. lastly, i guess i would say that i think that gay marriage offers a vision of radical
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egalitarianism, a relationship not based on explicit or implicit sexism. and i think that is-itis of writing some people. it is the traditional, you know, the husband is the head of the family kind of language. i just think that it challenges that patriarchal system in a way that feels like we are being cut loose. either you are excited about that as i am, or you are frightened about it. and i think there are a lot of my people. lastly, i hope this book will empower you and people you know to do their particular part of this movement. one of my favorite places in the whole world is the national
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civil rights museum in memphis, tennessee. it is that the old lorraine hotel where doctor king is assassinated. if you go in the hotel, this remarkable museum -- there is a big black monolith of marble or granite or something. and carbonate is this ever upwardly trail of african-americans. everyone of them is either standing on someone else's shoulders or holding hands with someone. he reminds us that african-americans went into the street with snarling dogs and sometimes they did it anyway. and they knew they would not live to see the end of it. but they went anyway. each one of them found their place in that long line.
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and i think that was what is the need of the movement as well. we will never be more than a very small minority, and unless we have held from our heterosexual brothers and sisters, it will be very hard to the end of this journey. after all, let's remember in the 60s. all of a sudden like people began to understand that they were paying a terrible price for racism as well. they began to join doctor king and others in that movement. so i am hoping that this book will arm you to become an advocate. and if you have friends in maine or maryland or washington state or minnesota and you have been meaning to have a little conversation with them, about how they think about this, this would be a good time to call them. [laughter]
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because every vote is going to count. every time we ran in one of these places, the appearance and the reality of an unrelated forward movement is created. each of these battleground states are really really important. so i hope that you will be empowered by the book. find some new words to use. does he want to convince, and thank you again for coming tonight. [applause] [applause] thank you, that is very nice. so what do we want to talk about? who has a question? okay, great. it was really wonderful.
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oh, there is one. [laughter] there we go. that is a little intimidating, isn't it? years ago at the time we were singing the same time over and over again that it seemed that the way that people were trying to abrogate the beers list by creating a sense of separation between a religious sense of marriage and a more secular sense, stressing the visitation rights in hospitals and so forth. i was wondering if you and your book addresses this new approach of looking at people on their own religious grounds in terms of the backlash being great or not we are talking about quality in a religious sense rather than just being able to visit a partner in the hospital. he might yes. thank you. so let me say a word about the
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separation of church and state. which i deal with quite a lot in the book. i think that we have gotten really confusing america area about the separation of church and state when it comes to winning. we have clergy to be agents of the state in doing what the state does. my own personal opinion is that we would be a lot better off if we have that backward again. i mean, they know that marriage is a civil institution. when they get divorced, they don't go back we little church where they got married. they go to the court. so they kind of know it. but you have to remind him of it.
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i have to suggest that we separate the two. but we have a policy where we identify someone in the congregation who who is or becomes the justice of the peace. and then the way we do weddings, gay or straight weddings, you know, at the back of the church, symbolically where they would meet, the justices of the peace affect the marriage. and then you come up the aisle, and they receive the churches blessing. everyone gets married at the mayor's office and religious people go to their place of worship to do with a religious institution does, which is to bless. i think that everyone who attended such a service would get a civics lesson in the separation of church and state. and we would be in a lot better plate on templates.
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i mean, if i really had it to do all over again, which we cannot, but in the best of all possible worlds, everyone would have something called a civil union and those people who were religious would be married in the eyes of the church or we will stick with it being a civil institution or we will call it matrimony or some other name. i mean, somehow we need to take those things apart that are hopelessly joined. the ramification of that is that when we are asking for equality, it feels to -- that feels like an attack on their belief.
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if we have this greater separation and clarification, i think it would be less so. the fact of the matter is that nobody is required to marry anybody. i don't have to marry any couple , gay or straight, and that is true of clergy across the board. that has not changed with any of the marriage equality laws. and we are finding it to be a really helpful strategy to restate that in the legislation. even though it is already the locking these people out of this beer. the other part of that is because of the attack on religion, it seems to me that usually when we talk about separation of church and state, we are afraid that the state will infringe upon the church. but in this case we have the church and printing on the state, right?
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we have churches and synagogues and mosques saying, don't do this, no marriage equality. when, in fact, it is the state's job to figure out what liberty and justice for all means. i think we have the religious institutions exerting undue influence on the state of this issue. and i think we need to call the church honor. so i think it does complicate. but in one sense, it deepens the conversation when we are actually talking about marriage as well. but i think it's really important to separate the discussion about what a particular church or denomination or faith feels about the union and marriage,
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separating that from the legal right to marry. the freedom to marry. because at the end of the day, the state doesn't care. they could care less about the content of a marriage. in fact, you don't have to say anything to get married. what makes you married is the signature of two people on a marriage license plus the signature of an authorized agent. if that doesn't go back to city hall or whatever you send it, you are not married. you are married whether you have no doubts at all. whether you had beautiful traditional bows, or you had the most romantic thing that you will cringe over a year later. it doesn't matter to the state. if those three signatures are
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there, if you are married. it is really important to understand the interest in this is the stability of the culture, which includes a healthy environment for the children and so on. that is the state's interest in this. the church, the synagogue, mosque, they put deeper meaning in it in terms of the spiritual meaning. but we have to be very careful to separate those two discussions so that we don't further the confusion. okay. yes, sir? >> i will answer your question. >> my name is richard. i'm a christian, and i am gay.
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i had to do is speed read because they got your book and just now. you made no mention apparently of jonathan and david, curious if you have comment on that in the bible. and secondly, what i consider a paradox that spain recognizes gay marriage and is predominantly catholic. so i am just wondering if you have any thoughts on that, commentary for entire country that can be predominantly catholic, could be one of the first ones to go along with gay marriage. >> the reason is great. >> well, thank god. >> i know, that is where it comes from. it is an astounding thing. somehow in this country that has
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been dominantly run forever, they seem to have gotten this separation thing. it is really quite astounding. i honestly cannot explain it. some people were so i'm unstuck in the context that they could actually think through this quite clearly. so yes. jonathan and david. okay. i think we don't do ourselves a positive service when we put things in the scripture that aren't there. i know the jonathan and david thing. you know, just describe what is
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there. i do this in the book with jesus. i'm not saying that jesus is gay. i'm saying that he had male and female disciples and 12 guys that he's been special times with, peter james and john as well, who he singled out for special leadership and against all odds, one disciple identified as the one who jesus was, jesus basically gives his mother to john, the beloved disciple, and gives him to his mother and says, take care of each other. when his mother and brother came looking for him because he was making too much of a row, he says, those of you that do the will of my father of my mother and brother. he knows about this choice. i am just saying.
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i think that we are better off to just remind people of what the text says and not try to put more into it than actually can be proved from the text. you'll be hearing a lot about this now because jesus had a wife. you know? have you seen the news? which we need not be afraid of and let's take a deep breath, everybody. it will be okay. so i think that we can point to jonathan and david is a clearly deep and spiritual relationship or that between jesus and the beloved disciple. but i don't think we help our case to extrapolate from that more than the text can bear. let's just remind people of what
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is there. i think we will be better off. right here, you are not. >> i was actually reason raised in the church similar to what you described. our church is 12,000 people. it was predominantly black. i struggle with is how i can be black and gay and christian all at once. also trying to gain support from gay marriage. i'm wondering what your thoughts are about the racial divide.
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and then also how that plays into the religious divide. >> that is a great question. it reminds me that after i retire il for american progress. there is a newspaper editor who is african-american and he says we will do some work on this together. one of the things that i have learned about is not to speak for people of color. so i won't be doing that. because i try to learn as much as i can from people of color. a couple of things that i have observed are, i think when
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people have multiple oppressions , it is asking a lot of them take them all on at once. racism is alive and well. honestly, do you think that some of this craziness about barack obama is just a scratch away from racism? i mean, people are smart enough to know how not to sound racist. although you take on [inaudible] or something. so i think that is part of it. you know, and let's remember that day and white men are white. and we have benefited from that privilege forever. another observation that i would
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make it is just a guess, when the president came out, i should quickly finish that sentence. when the president came out for marriage equality, never cause they are. when came out for marriage equality, they said the support was -- there was a sizable lead. he jumped from 54% or something. african-americans have been doing their work on this issue. in the announcement gave them cover, you know, it was like it was okay to go public with it in
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a way that perhaps they hadn't before. irene monroe, who i just absolutely adore, says that the african-american church has got a lot of work to do on sexism forgets to the lj -- lbgt issue. these things are tied together. everyone wants to talk about this. sexism and racism -- i mean, all of these things work in the same way, and they work together to conspire against us. i just think it is very
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complicated. there is more of african-american with religious leaders spoke out. i think at least it was, the polling was seemed to show that it was the african-american religious community that resulted in the marriage quality going down in maryland. barack obama will rightly receive some credit for that.
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okay, let me take another question. he met what kind of questions would you like to have from someone someone who is not a person of faith who might be not experienced with organized religion or religion. do you think religious issues haven't played in this conversation about gay rights? what kind of questions would you like to hear that demonstrate an openness to having the religious elements be part of this discussion. >> i'm not sure i understand your question. but, i think this issue can be argued on secular grounds. but if any nonreligious person thinks that religion is in at the heart of the resistance that we are experiencing, they are living on another planet.
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this one seems to really be at the center of it. if you are arguing against abortion from a religious perspective, you have to look and find things and interpret them and extrapolate and so on, and with the gay issue, you seem to have a very, you know, a very plain text that is very clear. you will hear the conservatives say this often, which is just plainly read. read it. is that one can plainly read the battle. maybe the roman catholics have it right. maybe we shouldn't give the bible everybody.
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[laughter] [applause] in the sense that if you don't know anything about the context in which those words were written and how they were heard, then you have no way of determining whether they are eternally binding or culturally bound. it takes work to make that discernment. most of us just settle for believing the bible says what other people tell us that says. i suppose, this is just at the center of this debate. so we had a group in concorde 12 the 21-year-old lbgt, -- not a
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single one of them had ever been to a sunday school, none of them were raised in a religious community of faith of any kind. everyone of them knew the word abomination. everyone of them thought that that is what god thought of them. even the ones who didn't believe in god. that's what they felt that god believes about them. they couldn't have found the book of leviticus in the bible if you had a loaded gun pointed at her head. but they knew that word and they believed that that was what god thought of them. you don't even have to be religious to sell this stuff up. and you don't have to be religious to soak it up if you are a gay kid, and kids do suck it up, whether they ever got it
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in sunday school or not. and they jump off bridges. one last question here in front. >> is a great honor and privilege being a presence today. as a member of the islamic community and the homosexual myself, i have always been surprised how gays and players can be in the largest tradition, christianity and islam, under the suppression of this. when it comes to all other aspects of life, i have never been able to wrap my mind around the fact that this has absolutely nothing to do with
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[inaudible] i just don't understand why this tradition is so old. people have not objected to that. i try to raise it in my mark and i am often silenced. but the idea is, you know, being overpowered and going out and you know, the angels have nothing to do by two men loving each other and wanting to live in union. >> exactly. so i think that at the end of the day. what we need to learn to say proudly and confidently, when we are approached about any of these vagrant texts, that seem to be speaking about this, we need to learn to say that actually, the bible, in those seven verses or anywhere else, doesn't doesn't speak to the questions we are asking today.
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it is not that the bible is supportive of gay marriage. i would never contend such a thing. but for whatever reason, and we do know some of them, those checks were written, they are in response to things in context that it is not ours today. before you start arguing any of those individual text community have a conversation about how we regard this book. otherwise, you are talking from two different planets and you're not going to get very far. you know, really, take a deep breath, go to starbucks and have a lot a. [laughter] because you're just not going to get very far. have a conversation about how we regard this book. all right?
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i also think the reason it has not come up for all these centuries is the kind of innate homophobia, which is a word that i rarely use, but which is in offshoot of patriarchy. and misogyny, frankly. steve greenberg says that homophobia is one large room in misogyny. it is these interlocking rooms that have continued to oppress us. i think we need to be a little bolder. actually, no, that story has nothing to do with what we are talking about today. i mean, nevermind the fact that homosexuality was unknown in the ancient world. in this sense that there were same gender couples have --
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having sex. you know, someone came up with the notion that a certain minority of us came up with the same gender. all of the ancient texts are written assuming that everyone is heterosexual and therefore acting as their nature or during call to worship or abusing a young boy or, you know, some of those things. so we just have to get better at saying, no, actually, that has nothing to do with what we are talking about today. two adults consenting, mutually, a faithful long-term commitment. all those kinds of things. you know, there is nothing in the bible about [inaudible]
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, but that was pretty great. [laughter] so i think that we just have to get a little bit more gracious about saying that we are not going to go there. none of the people that are just take the bible seriously. you never hear jerry falwell quoting luke and saying if you will be a follower of mine, give up all your possessions. so everyone picks and chooses. nobody does a plain reading. anyone who does so without considering the context is not doing justice to the text. thank you so much for coming tonight. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you would like to see featured onthe tv? send us an e-mail at the tv at c-span.org. were tweet us at
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twitter.com/booktv. >> the year was 1981 and 1982 when i was living in hong kong and working for the asian wall street journal. i was the op-ed editor. one day a simitian crossed my desk and it was written by an italian journalist who was living in what we called peking. he had secured a rare visa and had written an article for publication about it and hope that the asian wall street journal would publish it. of course, we did. and i was really blown away by it. it was completely eye-opening to me. especially the description of the mass public worship of the leader of north korea.
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his vision has come to light a few years earlier and the republic of korea. as the years went by, i couldn't get the closing line out of my head. it read, when i got off the plane in peking, i kissed the ground, happy to be back in a free country. a free country? china in 1981? i had been there. i knew that china was not safe. was it really possible that there could be a place that north korea could be worse? thirty years later, we know the answer to that question. it is the world most repressive state. it controls every aspect of the people's lives, even whether they get to eat. religion is banned. there is no law. perceived political infractions
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are often involved. a political offender knows that when he goes to prison, his parents and his children will probably go with him. there are probably about 200,000 north koreans today in more than a million who have already died there. these are the people that i write about in my book. this knowledge comes to us despite knowledge of the kim family regime to keep it secret. for more than 50 years, ever since the end of the korean war, north korea has sealed off from the world. the kim family regime has
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presumed an isolationist policy and it retains an iron grip on information, access which is control. to give an example, every radio must be registered with the government. and that style must be fixed to the government run radio station. to enforce this, security police equipped cruise neighborhoods, trying to identify households where residents have tinkered with the radios and are turning in to band radio broadcasts. surveys show that a high percentage of them listen to foreign radio broadcasts in north korea in defiance of the rule. and their motivation to leave was in part what they heard on those radio broadcast. people are hungry for information about the outside
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world. north koreans who escape must first go to china. they can go south to south korea, as strange as it may seem, because of the militarized zone on the 38th parallel is the most militarized border in the world. it is impossible to get across unless you are a soldier who has been shown the safer route. only a few people make it out of north korea by going across. instead, they go to china. and in china, the north koreans usually find that they have exchanged one circle of hell for another. china's policy is to track down the north koreans in that country and arrest them and send them back to north korea, where they face imprisonment or worse. for the so-called crime of leaving their country. this chinese policy is both immoral and against the treaties
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it had signed. nevertheless, some of those who are hiding in china decide to risk the estate. out of china and south korea. no one can accomplish this feat on their own. some people can get out of north korea on their own and in the hand of them, if someone wants to get out of china, they need help. the distances are too great and the challenges are too high for north koreans to do it on their own. this is where the new underground railroad comes in. like the original underground grower in the american south, the new underground railroad is a network of secret routes across china. the operators are both human traffickers who are in it for the money and christians whose religious beliefs impelled him
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to help their north korean brothers and sisters. they have been operating for about 12 years, and an increasing number of north koreans are reaching safety in the south and a few other countries. the explosion of those who have gone out is very striking. especially those who reach north korea, and let me share with you a couple of the numbers. in 1990, only nine were able to reach south korea. last year, 2757 north koreans reach safety in the south. so the people who get out now have formed enough of them that they are educating us about the truth of life in north korea.
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there have been several books published about life in north korea, and we now have a much better picture of what the truth of the existence is there. but the north korean refugees are performing a second equally important function. i do believe in longhorn. they are helping to open up their own homeland. just as the world knows more about north korea, they know about the world. this is thanks to the efforts of north koreans who have escaped. how do they do that? well, if you think a minute. any immigrant who goes to a new country, what's the first thing he wants to do? he wants to let his family back home know that he is okay. and he wants to tell them about his new life. but for north koreans, it is next to impossible. you can't send an e-mail or text
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message or facebook and you can even mail a letter. so the exiles have created a black market in information. they hired chinese couriers across the border and deliver messages were sometimes they deliver chinese cellphones to north korea and relatives, telling them to go to an area near the border on a certain day on a certain hour, turn on the phone and receive a phone call, a relative that has escaped two different country. in south korea and north korea, they have formed organizations purpose is to get information into north korea. to give just one example, there are four radio stations run by exiles that broadcast daily to north korea. the mantra of the kim family regime, that it is the greatest
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and most prosperous nation on earth and the north korean people are the world's happiest is being exposed for the wide that it is. >> you can watch this and other programs at booktv.org. >> america ranks behind bolivia and ukraine. we pay the highest prices in the world by far. we pay 38 times with the japanese pay for a bit of information. view by one of these triple play packages, you pay on average $160. in france, you pay $30 and you get worldwide calling to 70 countries, not just the u.s. and canada. you get worldwide television, not just to master, and the internet is 20 times faster. and you are paying less than 25 cents on the dollar. all of these other countries
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understand a fundamental principle. canals and railroads were the key to industrialization and you had to move heavy things like steel. as the 20th century came along, it was the interstate highway program that was crucial to economic growth. now, it is the information superhighway. >> david cay johnson on the many way corporations try to rob you blind tonight at 10:00 p.m. on "after words" or tomorrow at six eastern, watch tom wolfe on his latest. that is from opening night on miami for your buck international. >> here's a look at some upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country. miami book fair international begins thi

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